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Located at Devou Park, Covington, Kentucky

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BACKGROUND

 

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     Several years ago, a few members of The Fenians of Northern Kentucky envisioned the development and placement of a monument commemorating the "Great Hunger" of Ireland, which occurred from 1845-1851. In fact, more than one half of Irelandís 8 million population was devastated by death by starvation and want, and emigration. The "Famine" period remains the single largest population adjustment of the 19th Century anywhere on Earth. Today, Ireland remains at less than half of Her 1845 population. Millions of Irish continued to emigrate to the United States, Canada and Australia well into the 20th Century with thousands settling in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.

      That idea crystallized into the "The Great Irish Hunger Memorial" project we undertake now. During Committee meetings, it was decided the Memorial's centerpiece would be a Dolmen. The Dolmen is decidedly Celtic in nature and can be dated in Ireland to c. 4000 B.C. They were burial chambers - the Passage way to the "next world" in Pagan times. Over the millennia, the dolmen speaks to the permanence of the Celts and Irish, having a long and robust history. The cumulative effects of "The Great Irish Hunger" and emigration was perceived by the Committee as another Passage way in Irish history, as terrible as the terms were, to a new life of relative peace, safety and dignity which is undeniable in the development of The United States, Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The use of the dolmen in our plan is in stark contrast to the designs of other Memorials to the Hunger which accurately capture the ghastly physical and psychological tragedy that was the Hunger. Our design seeks to draw on the facts of this period with descriptive text of the pain, but simultaneously celebrate the Passage of this strong and committed people to contribute in so many ways to the life we live today. Our centerpiece and supporting stone work will be sourced entirely from Ireland, and laid by Francis McCormack of Irish Natural Stone - the lead mason and stone provider for the Famine Memorial in New York City at Battery Park. We believe this design will rival all previous and future designs to commemorate "An Gorta Mor - The Great Hunger". 

In the course of finding a home for our idea, members of the City of Covington enthusiastically embraced our idea not only to honor the contributions of the Irish in our home, but what such a Memorial could contribute to the quality of life in Northern Kentucky's educational, business and tourism goals. Through the Devou Park Master Plan process, a site was located ideal for our purposes, near the band shell and The Behringer-Crawford Museum. These are two venues central to our celebration and immigration mission.  In the fall of 2009 the Covington City Council and Mayor Denny Bowman voted unanimously to permit this Memorial to be built in Devou Park. This monument is supported by all of the Irish organizations in the greater Cincinnati area and fundraising has begun to construct the monument and maintain it, hopefully for another 5000 years, in Kentucky. 

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